ICA Board Committee: Community of Practice for Bioeconomy Education in Europe (ICA-CoP Bio-Edu)
The bioeconomy covers all sectors and systems that rely on biological resources; animals, plants, micro-organisms and derived biomass, including organic waste. It includes and interlinks: land and marine ecosystems and the services they provide; all primary production sectors that use and produce biological resources (agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture); and all economic and industrial sectors that use biological resources and processes to produce food, feed, bio-based products, energy and services. To be successful, the European bioeconomy needs to have sustainability and circularity at its heart. This will drive the renewal of our industries, the modernisation of our primary production systems, the protection of the environment and will enhance biodiversity.
Educational and vocational training programmes that fit the rapidly evolving skill demands are requiredi in order to efficiently support the expansion of the circular sustainable bioeconomy . In addition to technical skills, strong interdisciplinary competences, systems thinking and the ability to understand the subject matter of all stakeholders in the value chains are of increasing importance. Both the professionals in the working field themselves and the future professionals should be educated to understand and develop these new and challenging domains.
Universities have been actively developing innovative programmes during the last years. However, trans sectoral collaboration on the topic of bioeconomy education as well as the collaboration of actors from different European regions are needed to develop a European Bioeconomy Education Ecosystem. This needs to include university degree programs, perspectives for up-skilling and life long learning as well as vocational education. Moreover, the regional differences and priorities regarding their Bioeconomy strategy and educational systems must be considered.
The goal of the ICA Community of Practice for Bioeconomy Education (CoP Bio-Edu), as a Committee of the Board of the Association for European Life Science Universities (ICA), is to enhance the quality, offer and diversity of education for the sustainable circular bioeconomy in Europe.
ICA-CoP Bio-Edu will:
Share experiences and good practices among educational actors to enhance the quality, offer and diversity of education for the sustainable circular Bioeconomy in Europe, recognising the different educational sectors and regional perspectives
Consult with the European Commission, industry and other stakeholders about which skills and educational outcomes should be implemented in educational programmes
Develop educational projects to enhance education and training for the sustainable circular bioeconomy in Europe through the development of new educational materials, strategies and innovative educational and training concepts
Utilise the active network in both future scanning and informing on education and training for the sustainable bioeconomy education
Organize the CoP Bio-Edu as an effective organisation to deliver the above objectives
Communication and sharing information within the CoP Bio-Edu and with other stakeholders
In summary the objectives will support the combined effort of professionals working on related goals to enhance the outcomes of education and training for the circular sustainable bioeconomy. The CoP Bio-Edu addresses experience exchange, up-skilling and training among faculty and teachers, which is a first and necessary step to promote the education of an adequately skilled workforce for the Bioeconomy.
Dedicated trans- and interdisciplinary events, cross-sectoral, on bioeconomy education are organised to facilitate networking, professional development and training among faculty and teachers. Besides its substantial contribution to the specific domain of bioeconomy, the established network will contribute to the New Skills Agenda for Europe and improving the job market in Europe.
The ICA-CoP Bio-Edu also provides a means for faculty to interact with industry partners and policy makers to identify skills demands early and to enhance the quality of bioeconomy education. The educational perspective will be aligned with European priorities for growth, offering a good potential for improvement in all levels (technological, economic social and regulatory).
ICA CoP Events organised or co-organised since start up in 2020
- The ICA CoP Bio-Edu 4th Summer School on Circular Bioeconomy and Sustainable Development was held from 6 to 10 September 2022.
- ICA CoP Bio-Edu Colloquium: “Interdisciplinary Education for the Bioeconomy: embedding the mindset of the bioeconomy in the curricula of Bachelor degree programmes was held on 19 and 20 May 2022 at Ghent University, BE. See the summary
- ICA-CoP Bio-Edu Webinar “Status and Future of Bioeconomy Education - Learning from EU Projects” was held online on 4, 5 and 19 November 2021
- The 3rd Summer School on Circular Bioeconomy and Sustainable Development was held online on 6 – 10 September 2021
- ICA CoP Bio-Edu shared in the development with the European Bioeconomy University (EBU) of a Workshop “How to shape education for a sustainable circular bioeconomy?” was delivered online at the Global Bioeconomy Summit 2020 (GBS 2020) on 16 and 18 November 2020
- The 2nd Summer School on Circular Bioeconomy was held online on 8 – 10 & 25 September 2020 (continuing the Summer School Series started in 2019)
How to participate
There are two categories of participant:
Individuals: Educators are invited to join the CoP Bio-Edu on a personal basis. The criterium to join is that the member can show educational practice in relation to the bioeconomy or in related fields that it is anticipated will be expanded towards the bioeconomy. There is no membership fee. Contact
Existing networks, consortia, research centres, public and regional administrations, and private entities are invited to register their support for ICA-CoP Bio-Edu by becoming partners. We kindly invite our network partners to help us in reaching out to the individual educators and stimulate them to become part of ICA-CoP Bio-Edu.
As the ICA-CoP Bio-Edu is a Committee of the ICA Board all ICA institutional members of ICA receive information about the events and activities of ICA-CoP Bio-Edu. Institutions who are not already members of ICA are invited to contact
Executive Committee of the ICA Community of Practice for Bioeconomy Education
CoP Bio-Edu became a Committee of the ICA Board at its meeting on 21 October 2020. ICA-CoP Bio-Edu is led by an international Executive Committee, see below. The Chair of ICA-Edu Board Committee is a co-opted member of the ICA Board.
It is intended that working groups and projects dedicated to specific themes will be established. The aim is to raise funds for specific projects and for the overall management and marketing of ICA-CoP Bio-Edu.
The Executive Committee of the ICA Community of Practice for Bioeconomy Education:
Han van Osch, (Chair) Avans University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands & Dutch Biobased Knowledge Network
George Sakellaris, (Vice Chair) Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic & BioEast
Ingar Janzik, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH and Bioeconomy Science Center, Germany
Pawan Kumar Mishra, Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic
Mona-Anitta Riihimäki, Häme University of Applied Sciences, Finland
Constantinos Vorgias, University of Athens, Greece
ICA Secretariat Representative: Simon Heath, Deputy ICA Secretary General
Han van Osch
Avans University of Applied Sciences/HZ University of Applied Sciences
Centre of Expertise Biobased Economy